Thomas Hobbes Questions and Answers

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What did Hobbes think about a representative government?

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David Morrison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Hobbes wasn't really all that concerned about representative government. In fact, he was rather hostile to the whole idea. All that mattered for him is that government should keep the peace and prevent people from tearing each other's throats out.

The only time that the absolutist government that Hobbes endorsed was in any way representative was when it was first established. Then, the government represented the interests of those men who set it up by providing peace, stability, and security in a world previously riven by conflict.

But once the civil power had been established, the question of representation was no longer relevant. As part of the original covenant between sovereign and people, the sovereign was invested with untrammeled power. For Hobbes, this was the only way that a sovereign would be able to fulfill his side of the bargain. Once the government was up and running, it would not be possible, then, for the people to defy the sovereign—even if they had good grounds for...

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